UCSI University drives academic mentoring with Harvard professor

KUALA LUMPUR: UCSI University (UCSI) continues its collaboration with top universities around the world with a recent lecture on campus by a Harvard Medical School professor and researcher. 

Prof Dr Gordon H. Williams delivered his lecture titled, ‘Mentoring your Students: The Dos and the Don’ts’ to UCSI staff and students as well as academic members invited from a number of universities in the Klang Valley. A highly regarded clinician scientist with over 500 papers published in top journals, Prof Williams leads the Hormonal Mechanisms of Cardiometabolic Injury Programme at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

With decades of experience mentoring some of the brightest minds from around the world, Prof Williams is well-placed to speak on the subject of mentoring in academia. 

Prof Williams is currently mentoring and supervising Cherish Chong Chiu Wern. She is a second-year UCSI medical student, who is currently on a UCSI scholarship to pursue an intercalated research year in Boston under Harvard Medical School’s Global Clinical Scholars Research Training Programme. 

Her work has been impressive and both universities are looking to expand this collaboration further. 

Cherish’s research opportunity is one of the ways that UCSI is nurturing and enhancing mentoring and research among its students. This drive to place promising minds under the wings of top academics in renown universities around the world is led by UCSI’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Senior Prof Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff. 

A clinician-scientist in the field of cardiology, Prof Khalid believes that the mentoring of students can be further enhanced and entrenched not just in UCSI, but in the country’s academia as a whole. 

In line with this, UCSI has designed the Star Trek programme where the brightest students are provided opportunities to have real research experience at leading universities and with top professors from around the world. Apart from mentoring and supervising Cherish in Harvard, Prof Williams is also co-supervising a PhD student in UCSI. 

The student is studying the genetic differences that affect how patients respond to drugs, specifically for those with salt-sensitive hypertension – a subtype of the disease. By accurately identifying this subtype, doctors will be able to prescribe medication more effectively. If successful, the research will change the clinical practice of hypertension medication globally. 

UCSI is also sponsoring two chemical engineering students who have just left for Imperial College London for a research programme. Work is being done with King’s College London and the University of Melbourne to broaden the horizons of UCSI students through various programmes with these institutions.